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News Release

Clerk Sharon R. Bock Recognized at State Level for Leadership in Guardianship Fraud Investigations

Clerk’s office recipient of Quality Senior Living Award during the Florida Conference on Aging

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (August 9, 2016) – The Clerk & Comptroller, Palm Beach County receives the Quality Senior Living Award for its Guardianship Fraud Program and Hotline during the Florida Conference on Aging.

“I am honored to receive this award and to be recognized at the state level,” said Clerk Bock. “Although we are moving in the right direction, there is still work to be done. Guardianship fraud needs to remain on the forefront of our conversation.”

Financial exploitation has emerged as the fastest growing form of elder abuse in the United States. One of the most vulnerable groups affected are adults with cognitive disabilities whose finances are controlled by court appointed guardians.

In 2010, Clerk Bock was amongst the first to implement one of Florida’s first Guardianship Fraud And Hotline Programs. The Clerk’s Division of Inspector General oversees all investigations and audits.

Since 2011, the hotline resulted in more than 600 calls; over 1,000 cases that have been investigated and audited; $5.3 million in unsubstantiated disbursements identified; and several criminal arrests.

As the elected Clerk & Comptroller, Clerk Bock is in the unique position of performing guardianship audits independent of the court system. The investigative findings and audits performed are accepted by all stakeholders – the courts, the guardians, the attorneys and most importantly, the guardian advocates due to her impartial role in the outcome.

The investigative program has also been honored by the following organizations:

  • Joanne Otto Service Award, National Adult Protective Services Association, 2014
  • Gilbert Innovations in Alzheimer’s Disease Caregiving Legacy Award, American Society on Aging Conference, 2016
  •  4th World Congress for Adult Guardianship, Germany, 2016

For those who suspect anyone of misusing a ward’s finances, report it to the Guardianship Fraud Hotline at 561.355.3728 or visit www.mypalmbeachclerk.com/fraud.

The Florida Constitution established the independent office of the Clerk & Comptroller as a public trustee, responsible for safeguarding public records and public funds. Clerk Sharon Bock is directly elected by and accountable to Palm Beach County residents. In addition to the roles of Clerk of the Circuit Court, County Recorder and Clerk of the Board of County Commissioners, the Clerk & Comptroller is the Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer and Auditor for Palm Beach County.

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